Before starting the article, let us have a look at what the urban dictionary defines superheroes as:
(n) superhero: A being with extraordinary physical or mental powers, far beyond the range of normal human ability, who uses these powers to protect the innocent and for the general good.

In the last decade, since the release of Christopher Nolan’s Batman film, ‘The Dark Knight’ there has been an influx of superhero movies in Hollywood. The craze was always there, there were a number of superhero films starring A-listers but ‘The Dark Knight’ was a game changer. This movie brought the BO money and the biggest reason being, who can ever forget Heath Ledger’s portrayal of ‘The Joker’ in the film. Heath’s Joker is the benchmark set by many actors when it comes to playing a negative character today. Thus, post the success of ‘The Dark Knight’, it started the biggest franchise war of DC VS Marvel in the history of cinema. Yes, we do have superhero movies, NOT from Marvel Or DC. That’s the reason we have seen a plethora of big Superhero films releasing every now and then.

So, the biggest question mark is where or to be precise why is Indian Cinema or Bollywood lagging behind in terms of a genuine and a legit superhero films? We do have superheroes like Doga, Nagraj, Parmanu and the list goes on but we have failed to bring these characters alive in our cinema. It is said that a superhero film needs a hell lot of budget and a great CGI. The question is if India can make those dragons we have adored in the popular Game of Throne series, or the tiger from Life of Pi, then why when it comes to the superhero film we make excuses of CGI? We have seen some great attempts on the genre by the likes of Shekhar Kapur, Rakesh Roshan and one of the biggest superstar of the country SRK himself. Some of the superhero films have even clicked with the audience big time, yet the energy invested is half-hearted.

So who will be the game changer in this genre in our cinema? Who will make the superhero genre look cool and make it a trend in our cinema? Let’s go down the memory lane and check out some of the attempts (good, bad, average and everything) made by Indian filmmakers in the superhero genre:

1) Mr. India (1987): The iconic film directed by Shekhar Kapur was an instant hit. Who can forget Amrish puri’s famous dialogue, “Mogambo Khush Hua”, or Sridevi seductive dance move in the song “I love you” or the innocent girl who dies in a bomb blast which opened the teary floodgate amongst the viewers?
The protagonist of the film Anil Kapoor who played the role of Arun Verma comes across a device created by his scientist father. The device would make its user invisible. With the help of the device, Arun Verma creates havoc in Mogambo’s den.

2) Superman (1987): Yes, you read that right. It is not a dubbed version of Hollywood or any other wood’s film, but an attempt by B. Gupta (apne ko bhi nehi pata kaun hain) to introduce Puneet Issar as Shekhar alias Superman. Let’s just leave it there and move ahead. Skip number 2 (pun intended) for now, will cover this again.

3) Alag (2006): As the title suggest the film was actually alag (different) from what Bollywood had churned in the past. The film helmed by Ashu Trikha and starring Akshay Kapoor and Dia Mirza is a story of an orphan boy named Tejas. Tejas who has spent all his childhood in isolation, in the basement of the house to be precise, shows the sign of telekinesis. The film is about how scientist wants to exploit Tejas’ superpower by attempting various scientific experiments on his body.

4) Krrish: The father and son duo of Rakesh Roshan & Hrithik Roshan introduced Krrish aka Krishna in the summer of 2006. Hrithik’s Krrish is the first genuine superhero of Indian cinema. In fact, we even got a sequel to the film back in 2013 titled Krrish 3. We are hoping to see more from the franchise in the coming years, and up their ante and challenge the production quality of Hollywood counterparts.

5) Superman of Malegaon (2008): This is a documentary on an actual film from Malegaon Film Community (let’s just call it Malewood {Oopsy!}) titled ‘Yeh Hai Malegaon Ka Superman‘. The documentary shows the making of the actual film, mixed by interviews and bytes of directors, actors and the audience from the region. Clearly, the one and only superhero who is skinny thin, and chews gutkha. This is aeon from Hollywood or any other film industry standard, but it has the right amount of dose to make you rofl, lmao and LOL.

6) Drona (2008): My heartfelt apologies for mentioning this film on this list. Let’s just say Goldie Behl wanted to make a film with his childhood friend Abhishek Bachchan, and they made this film as childishly possible as one can imagine. So let’s do number 6 once again.

6 (2.0) Ra.One (2011): Shah Rukh Khan’s dream project directed by Anubhav (experience??? really?) Sinha, and starring King Khan himself, alongside, Arjun Rampal, Kareena Kapoor, and Armaan Verma. The film is based on gaming characters of Ra.One & G.One, and how these two characters come out of the virtual world, and the baddie Ra.One who wants to kill a player by the name of Lucifer, who almost defeated him but quit the game midway.

Special mention: Number 2 is back in the form of Flying Jatt (2016). This superhero flick starring Indian Michael Jackson (not Prabhu Deva)- Tiger Shroff, is directed by another Michael Jackson (TV reality show wala host)- Remo D’Souza. The film also stars Jacqueline Fernandez, and former WWE superstar, Nathan Jones, cast as Raka, who is the nemesis of Flying Jatt.

Enough of Bollywood, let’s move on to the regional cinema and check out what we have at our disposal.

7) Velayudham (2011): This Tamil superhit film directed by M. Raja’s starred Vijay, Genelia D’Souza, Hansika Motwani, Abhimanyu Singh, Saranya Mohan, Santhanam, Soori, and Vineet Kumar. Though this is a superhero film, the plot is something we have seen ‘n’ number of times in Hindi and other regional movies. The plot revolves around Vijay’s character named Velayudham who gives life to a fictional superhero character created by a journalist played by Genelia, to instil fear amongst the corrupt politicians.

8) Mugamoodi (2012): Mysskin’s take on a superhero film gave us a film which is a concoction of martial arts and superhero power. Starring Jiiva, Narain, Pooja Hegde (remember the Mohenjo Daro girl), Nassar, and Selva. Jiiva plays the roles of Anandan alias Bruce Lee, who falls in love with Pooja Hegde’s character Shakthi. In an attempt to impress his ladylove by donning a superhero costume, Bruce Lee aka Anandan falls in a trap when the Shakthi’s police commissioner father is shot dead by goons and the blames falls on Anandan aka Bruce Lee (too confusing). The rest of the film revolves around how our hero tries to clear his name from the blame to achieve the fame (read the ladylove).

9) Baji (2015): The first ever Marathi Superhero film is directed by Nikhil Mahajan and starring Shreyas Talpade, Amruta Khanvilkar, and Jitendra Joshi. The action-packed vigilante film is based on a legend of a man who took upon himself to fight for injustice and oppression and protect the common man.

10) Super Singh (2017): The Diljit Dosanjh starrer film is unlike any other superhero film made in India. It is intentionally funny (in parts) and over the top. The film’s production value will make you cringe in those special effects & CGI parts, but Diljit just like his superhero avatar, end up playing his part to perfection and helps the audience and the makers.

Now, the big reveal on why this article/listicle is formatted in the first place. Ever since Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi’s teaser was released, social media has been buzzing about this film might just be the one to change the landscape of superhero film in India. The film’s teaser looks inspired yet very promising. Starring Harshvardhan Kapoor (Mr India’s son), the teaser looks intriguing from the first frame itself and look every bit a legit superhero film that we as a nation deserves. Being the land of millions of deities, who have their own superhero power, we do need a Batman or a Superman or an Ironman of our own. Other than Doga, Nagraj and few more names mentioned earlier, we also have Shaktimaan and Hanuman, but no filmmaker is technically making a feature film on those two characters or any characters we have known all our lives.

N.B. A biography on Salman won’t be counted as a superhero film ever.



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